April 22, 2020
Semmes Heritage Park is pleased to announce that Semmes Heritage Day has been honored by the Alabama Bicentennial Commission with an Alabama Bicentennial Legacy [award/commendation].
The honor recognizes outstanding projects by communities and organizations that were part of the commemoration of the statehood anniversary. Semmes Heritage is a celebration of Semmes History, remembering our past as we look to the future.
“Communities invested time and resources in an amazing range of projects,” noted Alabama Bicentennial Commission chairman Sen. Arthur Orr. “Our successful bicentennial celebration owes a real debt to their efforts, especially for projects that will be important to the state, its communities and its citizens for a long time to come.”
Awards were given in two categories: commendations for outstanding bicentennial programs and projects and legacy awards for projects of exceptional and lasting impact. Forty-one commendations and 21 legacy awards were given, representing more than 40 municipalities in 35 counties.
Projects ranged from celebration events to city murals to preservation and restoration of sites and structures. Many projects were locally focused while some were regional or even statewide. Many are especially notable for their long-term relevance and impact.
The awards represented every region of the state and ranged from small towns to major metros, including Birmingham, Montgomery and Huntsville.
Each winning project will receive a bronze plaque noting the name of the project and its award. The plaques will be a public reminder of the achievements of Alabama communities during the bicentennial commemoration.
For more information on the plaque and plans for a dedication in the fall contact Jeanette Byrd, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Alabama Bicentennial Legacy Awards and the bicentennial commemoration, visit www.ALABAMA200.org or call 334-242-4537.
Mildred Wiggins was a native of Semmes. Her parents were Henry Hiram Pollard and Lena Van Christopher who were married in 1918 and settled in Semmes in 1918. Mildred had six sisters and six brothers. Most of the descendants of the Pollard family still live in Semmes today.
Mildred taught at Semmes School until her retirement, was a founding member of Alumni & Friends of Semmes School, Inc. and the first schoolmarm after the restoration of the little schoolhouse. She prepared lessons for students and served in this position until her death on December 3, 2003.
The vision of the founding members of restoring the one room school and for it to continue to be used as a school goes on today. Children on Field trips experience School 1902 style with lessons in reading writing and arithmetic.
Malone Chapel in the park is a replica of 1902 Mt. Pleasant Church
In 1887 Semmes log cabin school was located on the townships sixteenth section of land which was required by law to be set aside for schools. Highway AL42 now known as U.S. Hwy 98 connecting Mobile to Mississippi ran thru the center of this section. It was the custom in early pioneer days in Alabama for schools to be the center of activity of the community. Church was often held in the school. Mt Pleasant Baptist Church began in the log cabin school.
As the community population grew the church grew and service moved to various locations. The first move was in the place of Mrs. Turner Strike off of the G M & O railroad.
The next move was 1.2 miles northeast of the original location. In those days land was so plentiful that when people wanted to build a church they picked out the land and began to build without finding out if someone owned the land. A couple from the north came down and laid claim to the property. This was around 1900.
Mr. and Mrs. J.F. Harroun had moved here by this time and invited the church to meet in their barn. After meeting for a time in the barn, the church began to look for other locations.
Thomas Jefferson Howell, a local lumber baron came to the rescue of the need for a new school and new church buildings by donating one acre of land with the stipulation that a new school was to be built on ½ acre and a church on ½ acre. This land was located close to the new center of town which was the railroad and is the location of Semmes Heritage Park today.
Malone chapel is a replica of Mount Pleasant Baptist that has the original bell in the belfry. The inside of church looks as it did in 1902 except it has electricity, modern restrooms, and central heat and air and is available to rent for weddings and other events.
Mt. Pleasant Church was renamed in 1904 to Semmes First Baptist. The church moved once again in 1930 to its present location.
Preserving our History